Norwich North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19052 (43.7%)
Labour: 14589 (33.5%)
Lib Dem: 1894 (4.3%)
Green: 1939 (4.4%)
UKIP: 5986 (13.7%)
Independent: 132 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 4463 (10.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Norfolk. Part of the Norwich council area and part of the Broadland council area.

Main population centres: Norwch, Thorpe St Andrew.

Profile: This is the northern part of Norwich, but is actually mostly outside the boundaries of the Norwich local authority - the outer suburbs of the city like Thorpe St Andrew, Sprowston and Hellesdon all come under Broadland district council. While the Norwich part of the seat has a substantial amount of social housing, the seat is largely made up of private housing developments, though not always affluent ones, and also includes Norwich airport. The 2011 census found Norwich had the highest proportion of people without a religion of any local authority, something that appeared to go hand-in-hand with areas of high support for the Green party.

Politics: Norwich North had been a Labour seat for most of its history until boundary changes in the 1980s expanded the seat to include the suburbs beyond the city limits and made it more of a Conservative-Labour marginal. It was represented by Labour`s Ian Gibson from 1997 until 2009 when Gibson resigned, having faced criticism during the MPs expenses scandal. The subsequent by-election was won by the Conservatives on a 16.5% swing.

Current MP
CHLOE SMITH (Conservative) Born 1982, Ashford. Educated at York University. Former aide to Gillian Shephard and Bernard Jenkin, prior to her election worked in professional services. First elected as MP for Norwich North in 2009 by-election. Economic Secretary to the Treasury 2011-2012, Parliamentary secretary to the Cabinet Office 2012-2013.
Past Results
Con: 17280 (41%)
Lab: 13379 (31%)
LDem: 7783 (18%)
UKIP: 1878 (4%)
Oth: 2253 (5%)
MAJ: 3901 (9%)
Con: 15638 (33%)
Lab: 21097 (45%)
LDem: 7616 (16%)
GRN: 1252 (3%)
Oth: 1430 (3%)
MAJ: 5459 (12%)
Con: 15761 (35%)
Lab: 21624 (47%)
LDem: 6750 (15%)
GRN: 797 (2%)
Oth: 682 (1%)
MAJ: 5863 (13%)
Con: 17876 (32%)
Lab: 27346 (50%)
LDem: 6951 (13%)
Oth: 1107 (2%)
MAJ: 9470 (17%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHLOE SMITH (Conservative) See above.
JESSICA ASATO (Labour) Educated at Flegg High School. Advisor to Tessa Jowell. Islington councillor 2011-2013.
JAMES WRIGHT (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Anglia Ruskin University. IT strategist. Norwich councillor.
GLENN TINGLE (UKIP) Contested Norwich North 2009 by-election, 2010.
ADRIAN HOLMES (Green) Educated at Leeds University. Software developer. Norwich councillor 2004-2012. Contested Norwich South 1992, 2001, Norwich North 2005.
MICK HARDY (Independent)
Comments - 184 Responses on “Norwich North”
  1. This will be a Tory hold. Ask voters in Norwich North who their MP is they will say “Chloe” – she has a very good local publicity machine and works the media well. People do seem to actually like her!

    Prior to 92 Norwich North was starting to look like a safeish Tory seat before the entry of Gibbo Gibson who was energetic outspoken and very popular demonstrated by the tiny swing against him in 2005.

    Labour will not win this seat because although they have recovered lost ground in the city wards they are nowhere near as strong as previously. Likewise they remain in their worst position in recent memory re Council seats in the Broadland district. Throughout the 1990s Labour won district seats in Hellesdon, Thorpe and Sprowston, in the 2005 County elections they won Sprowston and missed Woodside by a whisker. In 2013 they came no where near.

    The Tories used to comfortably win this seat with no Cllrs at all in the city.

    My prediction is Chloe by 1500

  2. Chloe Smith is widely seen as conscientious and approachable – but she does not enjoy the personal vote that Ian Gibson did.
    There also has to be the possibility that the 2010 figures somewhat flatter the Tories here in that they are likely to have enjoyed both a post byelection and an incumbency boost – as did Crewe & Nantwich. The byelection effect tends to unwind at subsequent General Elections which might mean that Chloe’s position is rather more fragile than many assume.

  3. prediction for 2015-

    con- 39%
    lab- 34%
    lib- 10%
    UKIP- 10%
    Green- 7%

  4. You do not add much to the debate by doing hundreds of predictions, most on seats you know nothing about. Why not stick to predicting the areas you know? That way we can all pick up useful local info.

    It’s highly likely that this seat will be far closer than you predict, with a Labour gain being something like an evens chance IMO. Tories are unlikely to be anywhere near as high as 39%.

  5. If there’s a swing nationally, it’s almost certainly going to be higher than average in Norwich N for the reasons stated above. If Labour are competitive nationally, this seat is extremely likely to be gained despite the relative weakness in the Broadland section of it – the Tories are doing very badly in Norwich itself at the moment and seem to be continuing to weaken year on year there.

  6. This will be a straight Tory hold.

  7. 56?

  8. If Robin’s national prediction is right, he would obviously be right here. But I reckon that with by-election unwind this would be a Labour gain even in the event of a very narrow Tory lead nationally – 1% or even going on for 2.

  9. I think UKIP could pick up enough votes in Broadlands to sink Smith… ladbrokes have con 8/11 and labour 11/10…. labour is good value at 11/10

  10. @ BARNABY

    Yes, come to think of it by-election unwind could make it close.

  11. I am considerably less optimistic about Conservative prospects here than in the other by-election gain of Crewe and Nantwich. The Conservatives were under 20% in Sewell, Mile Cross and Crome in 2014 and barely over 20% in Catton Grove, where they used to be quite competitive. I’m not convinced that they’ll be able to pull it back in the non-Norwich parts of the seat. Labour won’t be all that far behind in parts of Sprowston after all.

  12. CON – 39
    LAB – 35
    UKIP – 16
    LD – 5
    GRE – 4

  13. ^ Yes I think that sounds like a pretty decent prediction. Labour will close the gap with good performances in the Norwich wards, but not enough to actually win the seat again, on account of the Broadland parts.

  14. what about ukip?

  15. I think it will be a bit closer than that TBH.
    Tory- 38%
    Labour- 36%
    UKIP- 14%
    Lib Dem- 6%
    Green- 5%
    Others- 1%

  16. I think the key here will be the extent of post byelection unwind.

  17. Iain Dale has blogged that he expects Chloe Smith to be defeated here.

    I’m not normally a fan of Dale or his predictions, but he knows Norwich North very well as a former assistant to Patrick Thompson and former candidate in nearby North Norfolk.

  18. I saw that and I was surprised at that too, HH. His judgements seem quite sane for Norfolk and Suffolk. He thinks Ipswich, Waveney and Norwich North are Labour gains. The last judgement would seem slightly against current polling. We have noted that Smith got a slightly above average swing as a consequence of the high profile by-election in 2009.

    As i always say, a world in which labour gain Norwich North is not one in which one can readily see a Conservative government, in whatever guise. Dale interestingly has Thurrock as a narrow UKIP gain. It does look like a labour/ukip fight, with the tories seemingly being squeezed out.

  19. He put down Harlow as a very narrow Labour gain. While that’s not impossible if UKIP polls especially well at the expense of the Conservatives, it’s one of those seats that is slipping from Labour’s hands in the long run. A narrow Labour gain in Harlow would go right back to the Tories in 2020.

  20. This is a seat where I would expect to see a higher swing to Labour than the national average, as there will be a certain amount of by-election unwind.

  21. I agree with that & have long done so. IMHO the Tories will need to be in a national lead of at least 2% over Labour to counteract the inevitable by-election unwind factor in this constituency.

  22. Narrow tory hold for me.

  23. The derision with which many media types like Iain Dale greet Chloe Smith following her shambolic Newsnight appearance just isn’t shared by constituents.

    I wouldn’t say she commands a particularly large personal vote in like manner to Ian Gibson who was roundly popular but there is certainly no anti-Smith vote to speak of either and the overall impression of her I’d say is that of her being hard working and nice.

    Likewise Jessica Asato’s high profile within London Labour doesn’t translate in to local popularity here, like Smith she’s certainly not disliked just hasn’t had the kind of impact locally that she has on the wider Labour scene and the kind of impact you would expect for somebody who has been selected for over two years.

    It will become a closer marginal than it was in 2010 but Chloe Smith will secure a four figure majority here.

    I also wouldn’t rule out CS stepping down in 2020, she is well qualified and has probably past her peak in terms of ministerial progression.

  24. First ever prediction!!

    Con- 34
    Lab- 30
    UKIP- 20
    Green- 9
    Lib Dem- 8

    Majority- 1800

  25. Iain Dale infers that Cameron would have to win a majority for Smith to hold on here. I am confused because she had a majority of nearly 4000 when the Conservatives did not win a majority.

    The only factor I could think of would be some unwinding of the by election impact but the that can’t amount to nearly 4000.

  26. Iain Dale infers that Cameron would have to win a majority for Smith to hold on here. I am confused because she had a majority of nearly 4000 when the Conservatives did not win a majority.

    for once dale knows his onions…the tory vote in 2010 was inflated by a recent by-election in 2009. the swing to the tories in the by-election was large, 16.5%…Smith did well the next year, but it will be a hard seat to hold.

    Her 4,000 majority in the light of the fact that it was achieved only a year after a well-financed and highly public national campaign is neither here nor there.

  27. LAB 15,000
    *CON 10,000
    UKIP 9,000
    GRN 3,000
    LD 2,500 (sadly)


  28. If Labour performs strongly in the 4 Norwich wards and polls respectably in Sprowston which I think is their best area in the suburbs (in Broadland) they may pull off a victory.

  29. Agreed it’s likely to be determined by how much by election unwind remains in terms of inflating Chloe Smith’s 2010 majority.

    I’m with the majority and think it will be very close. Cannot see anyone winning this seat by 5,000 or anything like that. Also that prediction looks far too high to me in terms of implying UKIP will get 20% plus of the vote.

    Given the Greens relative strength in Norwich, though mainly Norwich South, I’d hazard a guess at something like;

    Con – 35%
    Lab – 32%
    UKIP – 15%
    Green – 9%
    LD – 9%

    But this could easily be in recount territory between Smith and Asato and depending on the national picture much more than occurred in 2010 just after the by election.

  30. I’m surprised that so many people think it will be even that comfortable a Tory win. The swing needed for Labour to win, although not small, is commensurate with a national lead of no more than about 2%. Given the likely incidence of by-election unwind, and the known weakness of the Tories in the Norwich city wards, the Tories will struggle to hold this even if they are slightly ahead of Labour on general election day in terms of votes cast nationally. If they hold this it’s unlikely to be by more than about 500.

  31. Can’t speak for others Barnaby but whilst they are all good points personally with national swingback my current feeling is the Tories will win nationally in May by about 3-4% on the popular vote. I could very very easily be wrong on that but that is my national view in terms of that sort of prediction.

    I’m also personally although I agree on by-election unwind and local factors with what you say still allowing Chloe Smith a bit of a personal vote (1,000 maybe a bit more) in my guess.

  32. “with national swingback”

    when does this start…?

  33. A glance at Anthony’s excellent voting intention graphs on this site would suggest it has clearly been under way since 2013, with large average Labour leads having given way to a broadly equal position now. The question is how much further might it extend (or not) by polling day.

  34. Jessica who?

  35. she must be PASOK

  36. Chloe Smith has been losing impetus as time elapses since the by=election, and as she has filed on the greasy pole of office. This should be one of Labour’s better prospects, although an ex-political advisor candidate may well be a sub-optimal choice for them, particularly if the Green’s very experienced candidate maximises a swing to the Greens in the run-up to the election.

  37. Whilst the polls nationally are still broadly level both Survation and ComRes have a tiny Conservative lead today; personally I think the question is as Runnymede says whether that trend continues and to what extent, it clearly has started.

  38. Here Con majority in GE2010 inflated by byelection effect.

    Chloe Smith resigned as minister to concentrate on holding this seat.

    Perhaps Greens may eat into Lab vote.

    I predict narrow Con hold in this seat.

  39. Lord Ashcroft poll for Norwich North.

    Con 34%, Lab 34%, LD 5%, UKIP 15%, Green 11%

    Fieldwork 4-12 Feb 2015.

  40. Thats General Voting Intention

    Constituency VI is

    CON 34%
    LAB 35%
    LD 5%
    UKIP 16%
    GRN 10%

  41. Exactly what most of us amateur anoraks are predicting. Very close with a slight Labour edge.

  42. I Still think Chloe Smith will hang on

  43. My personal prediction (which I made a few months ago) is Chloe Smith to hold on by about 250 votes.

  44. I’m guessing that Green VI is what’s hurting Labour from pulling ahead. The Lib Dems have probably polled as low as they can get in this seat.

  45. Well UKIP has 16% in the constituency voting intention in the poll. As the election campaign gets going the tactical squeeze of their vote should help the Tories somewhat.

    I was also a bit surprised that UKIP had a higher CVI here than in either High Peak or Colne Valley.

  46. But yes the squeeze on the 10% Green vote will help Labour. This seat is on a knife edge.

  47. UKIP didn’t poll too badly in a few of the suburban wards in this seat (i.e. the Broadland ones) in the 2013 Norfolk county council election. Still it’s no where near as natural UKIP territory as Great Yarmouth, possibly Thetford and some of the areas around King’s Lynn.

  48. “I was also a bit surprised that UKIP had a higher CVI here than in either High Peak or Colne Valley.”

    The eastern side of England is UKIP’s strongest area and that shows through even in relatively unpromising seats like Norwich North.

  49. Anti austerity and disability campaigners to stand in Norwich.

    If it’s a tight race, their few votes could make a difference.

  50. Former Norwich North MP Dr. Ian Gibson, criticizes Labour claims of NHS privatization.

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